13.1 is Done!

So I feel like there were points leading up to this race where I feared it would be my first DNF (did not finish).  My training was either non existent (ie weekend in Memphis) or poor.  I struggled to get through my long runs and my heart just wasn’t in it.  Yet when I woke up this morning, I was ready for whatever the day threw  my way.  It certainly helped that my my parents met me at my house so we could drive together to the race.  The BOY, who is still sick, got to sleep in.

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What made this well-organized race so fun was the ease of getting there, the lack of crazy crowds, and the laid back vibe.  It’s actually at the same location where I ran the Hot Cider Hustle last fall.  Even better…the weather was PERFECT for a run!

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I easily found my friend and was looking forward to catching up again.  We’ve done a bunch of bike rides and runs together this year, including the Soldier Field 10 Miler.  About 5 minutes before the start of the race, we found our way to the start line.  I didn’t have a set plan, which is so not like me, but figured I would find a steady pace and do the best I could.

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I was so disorganized that I almost didn’t start my watch at the start.  The course weaves through a beautiful forest preserve.  My friend and I found an easy pace of running and conversation.  I was surprised at how good I was feeling as I trudged along.  I barely looked at my watch so I had no idea what my pace was but I still felt decent as we passed the 9:10 pace group with about 3 miles to go.  In the end, I even found a little kick as we raced to the finish line where my parents were waiting with cameras finishing just under 2 hours.

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Although I didn’t train to PR this race, I also didn’t want it to be my slowest race ever.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to maintain a 9:05 pace and finish feeling pretty darn good.

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The reward was lunch at Naf Naf.  The BOY’s choice but since he couldn’t join us we sent pictures!

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I spent the rest of my afternoon walking around the mall with my mom, which was probably great for my legs and sipping on Starbucks chai tea.  Now I am planted on the couch watching the Bears game and beginning to feel all of my muscles talk to me.  Thankfully, I have a well timed massage scheduled tomorrow!

Arriving in Israel and Staying on a Kibbutz

So like my laptop computer, I decided to shut down for a few weeks while I was traveling in Israel.  However, unlike my laptop which quickly restarted and returned to its full, colorful glory, it has taken me some time to get all of my processes up and running again.  The good news is that this is because I was fully immersed in my travel experience and Israeli culture soaking up EVERY SINGLE moment.  The bad news is that it means I have no idea where to even begin blogging about my trip.

 

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I recognize that not many people that I’ve met have been to Israel.  (You definitely should have seen the checkout woman at Target’s face when I told her where I was going while she was ringing up my travel toiletries).  So I’d love to convey the beauty and heart of this tiny, but powerful country!  The flight there was long, but well worth it, even if I couldn’t sleep.

 

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After over 20 hours of sleepless travel!

 

We spent our first few nights on a Kibbutz in the Golan Heights.  I didn’t know what to expect staying at the B&B on a Kibbutz, but it far surpassed my expectations.

 

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And not just because of this glorious view!

 

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Our first day was as busy as can be including a visit to Mount Bental and my first view of the Syrian border.

 

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Followed by our first Mediterranean lunch…an amazing falafel sandwich made by the crazy falafel guy!

 

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I should probably take this time to tell you that I ate the most fantastic food on this trip!  I could seriously eat hummus and tahini three meals a day.  After lunch, we went kayaking down the Jordan River.

 

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As we drove back to the Kibbutz after an exhausting day, the sun was setting behind the hills.

 

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We stayed at the Kibbutz for the first 4 nights which allowed me to establish a little routine.  In the morning, I’d make some tea to drink out front in the courtyard while journaling or reading a magazine and try to keep the friendly kitties out of my room.

 

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During the day, we were usually out and about exploring the north east region of the country, but there was still plenty of time on the kibbutz for morning yoga, a crazy hot run, and a cool down in the pool.

 

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After 4 days, I was sad to leave but looking forward to moving on to Tel Aviv.  I definitely made a note to myself that I would love to come back and explore the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee, and I would make reservations to stay back at this kibbutz.

 

Have you ever stayed at  kibbutz?

What did you think?